By Wesley Ngwenya

The thinking and actions of Rupiah Banda and his buddies never seem to amaze me. It is reported that they have purchased one hundred hearses from China at a cost of about thirty thousand dollars each. Wow! Now, that is a lot of money to be spent on trying to bury us.

It is interesting that government will spend enormous amounts of money to send people to the grave instead of spending the money to save the lives of many Zambians. It is after all our culture to spend a lot of money on funerals. Even though the deceased’s life could have been saved by providing food or money, we go ahead and spend lots of money at his or her funeral. We buy expensive food for the mourners. We buy expensive clothing for the deceased. Why spend so much money on the dead instead of spending it on the living? That is exactly what our current government is doing.

This government has, unfortunately, turned out to be “briefcase businessmen”. Men and women who move around doing business in their briefcases buying and selling whatever they can make money on. Even briefcase businessmen have morals. They will not deal in businesses that will compromise their integrity. They will choose their business partners carefully so that they can have repeat business.

It is quite disheartening that Banda and his buddies will go ahead and spend such amounts of money on these moving tombs. What is the rationale behind all this? Could it be that the government has foresight that the economic meltdown is too much for us Zambians and expect many of us to head to the grave much sooner than later? Or is it that Banda and his buddies will give a tender to any company that comes up with an “ingenious idea” for them to make some personal money? As always, they have been able to secretly do this without parliament approval.

Now, it is very sad when you have a government that disregards its legislature. There is need to have a system in government to procuring such purchases. If there is an existing system, then this system needs to be respected and followed. Government needs parliament’s support to effectively implement its policies. However, Rupiah’s government is determined to do things their way whether it’s legal or not. Not too long ago they wanted to purchase costly mobile hospitals and before that it was RP Capital. And all they could say was that they were approached by the companies to provide the services. Really! Just because someone walks in your office to sell you something does not entail you purchasing their product or service. Why not be proactive for once and look at what our country needs and then go about acquiring those services that we need?

Zambian hospitals are filled with old and outdated equipment and yet the government goes ahead and buys one hundred hearses. I am not even sure we have one hundred government ambulances here in Zambia. I have personally seen someone die simply because there was no transport to take that person to the hospital. If this government is serious about saving our lives why not improve the well being of our existing clinics and hospitals. Just like you guys, we are also interested in living. We know how to get to the graveyard and do not need your help going there. Just because you have given up on managing the country does not mean we should also give up on living.

As long as the Banda buddies are going to hang out and wait for the Chinese to do the thinking for them we are bound to see the worst yet to come. The Chinese are eager to make quick money out of our sleeping government. I wonder what they will sell us next—snow mobiles, skiing equipment, or expensive mortuary equipment? They will sell us anything because our government will buy. Just wait and see.

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34 COMMENTS

  1. It is a matter of priorities the sooner the opposition die and are buried the sooner they can plunder without question (after all when they fall sick they use taxpayers money to fly out to Morning (Mourning) side

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  2. WE WANT TO BE TAKEN TO LEOPARDS HILL CEMETERY FOR BURIAL IN A WHEEL BURROW…..OX CART

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  3. We really do not have leadership in this country. Nothing! This leadership is dead headed and dumb. They want Chinese to think for them. They think they gonna get development from China. You cannot buy development, but think it and actuate it. Chinese are just there to earn their living and nothing more and nothing less. There are their to pursue their ruthless capitalism. Soon, we will be very good example of the impact of Chinese polices in this world. Sure, we know that it is not even the brilliant elite Chinese advising them, but just common Chinese men out there to make a living and get instant millionaires. This is just a total backwardation to UNIP times. RP and his buddies have not even read the red book! I believe we need brilliant military rule and a barn on all MMD political ac

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  4. Ok even as a positivist , I know I will die and just maybe I mifgt get a ride. Well since we dont want hearses, can we a go a step further and close all the cemetries

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  5. You can only build a toilet if you have food in the stomach. In this case we prefer death to healing. i tell you these machines will go the the Zamcab way(For those too young to know what Zamcab means- these were taxis owned by GRZ and did not last more than 1 year)

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  6. This hearse story is so dodgy…
    RB’s govt is already saying that this issue was not their idea but the previous govt’s baby…and bloggers can go on debating about this hearse story for donkey years but all I can see is, its a waste of tax payers money…
    Alleviation of poverty is the foremost priority in this govt… let the unemployed get an un- employment benefit…a minimal wage is better than nothing..
    even the hearses will be ‘idle’ for a while…once poverty is paid attention to critically.

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  7. I would just want to hear the reasoning behind the purchase. For ministers? cabinet? ‘special people’. Come on Zambia.

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  8. What Buying. These things were just donated. So sumone is lying to say they are buying and putting up a claim of big Monies . Zambians be very careful. This wat we call stealing. Wat did Teta go to do in bahamas. I beg to be corrected if my thinking is Wrong.( He went to open an Account)

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  9. You bloggers dnot know, 50 hearses will be converterd into limos, just like the one Pres Obama has , the Beast. But these will be called the Insect.

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  10. So these people do not want to improve our hospitals instead they dicide to buy hearses to transport us all the way to the grave yard? ok! may the hearses carry the people who initiated this idea including all those who were in favour of the purchase, may they be the first people to be carried in these hearses.

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  11. Wesley, your contention reverberates that of most Zambians. Why cant we look within ourselves for solutions to our unique domestic problems? The Chinese, Indians and others have reached where they are because of self-contemplation. There’re lessons to be learned from the West as they grapple with the current financial crisis; they have sought home-grown solutions to their problems. While we are richly endowed with vast natural and human resources, we have remained poor because we do not seem to believe in ourselves as a people capable of achieving that which our compatriots elsewhere have achieved. This is so depressing.

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  12. Economist will agree with me that resources are always in short supply. I believe this has not spared our country and I don’t think it is in order for our govt to spend such huge amount of money to buy what will not even benefit a common man like me.

    I am not an economist, but I still remember my school days when I my lecturer talked about opportunity costs and scaresity and choice. What is the opportunity cost here? And what is the choice? Can someone answer me from the govt?

    Oh poor me!

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  13. let my family and I die a ceremonious funeral in a new hearse.
    i will insult you ba ko.lwe so that i sin once. wen i die we will meet in hell.

    all the govt officials.

    EDITED

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  14. What has happened to morality in our so called leaders? Even if you lack integrity at least you could have morals; a govt without morals is no govt at all. Try telling someone sick that we have bought you a coffin instead of medicine- how would the sick and the people trying their hardest day and night to see the sick healed feel about it? This is another scandal of gigantic proportion. See, bloggers, If we explained this and many other issues to our loved ones, I believe they will see sense in choosing wisely at the next election. Shame on whoever is behind this scandal!

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  15. #14 Abigail Malama, you have turned into the dark poet girl , give it to them proper.

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  16. Only in Zambia can politicians embezzle public funds in such a brazen manner without mass public protests. This is truly a shameful exhibition of wanton cowardice by the Zambian populace; and the MMD know it and they’re counting on it to continue their raping and pillaging of Zambia.

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  17. kuti wafulwa, Abigail. How many children have we lost due to complications of preventable diseases such a diarrhoea and the reason for their death was lack of transport to a nearest health facility? How many expectant mothers have passed on due to complications of labour and the reason for their death was lack of transport to a nearby health facility for appropriate intervention? How many villagers and those staying in outlaying areas have succumbed to complications of appendicular disease or intestinal obstruction and their fate was largely due to lack of transport to a nearest health facility for a life-saving operation? Surely, a hundred ambulances could have saved more lives than even a thousand hearses. Who said common sense was that common?

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  18. Lets not be naive and unrealistic. Peopole die and bodies need to be transported, what is wrong with aquiring vehicles for this purpose. Come on they are not wishing you desd but rather accepting that death does occur, who has seenhow long it tales to pick up a dead body from the street. The govt is fine on this one. How do we want the dead to be tranported ? By wheel barrow?

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  19. #21. Positivist pa zed. What is wrong with a wheelbarrow if we cannot afford a hearse? The Ambulance service or emergency service has but completely collapsed pa zed. We are in the business of saving lives and not transporting the dead.

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  20. #14 Abigail…oops! Don’t loose your sanity over our (mis)leaders. They need arguments not insults.

    At first I also thought there was nothing wrong with securing a few dozens of hearses for the last trip to the cemetery but after so much criticism from all around, it is hard not to look at the matter critically.
    I am just wondeing if the same reaction would have been made if the money was invested in education or in infrastructure (life-sustaining) rather than in death services? It is probably the fact that a hearse reminds everyone of their last breath which makes the whole thing macabre.

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  21. Yeah nine chale, I think you are right. Come on , if the local govt can transport a dead body to the mortuary or grave yard. Is that not an improvement. over a wheel barrow or body rotting in some house. People will always die , so come on. In the developed world, death is a complete competitive industry and pepole actually pay thru the nose for a decent funeral, so Govt attempts to ease the suffering is not wrong.

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  22. My sis monalisa, yes we are in the business of saving lives and we are not doing well. However pipo still die and will always, would it be wrong to create more cemetries or mortuary’s ? /And the ambulance service is under a differenr ministry i.e. health, so should local govt not provide the service because there are no ambulances

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  23. we also need mobile bars and brothels….i will talk to my Chinese connections to persuade RB to purchase them.

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  24. # Abigail Malama, are you sure its the issues at the blog making you to insult like this? we have known you at the blog for sometime and we haven’t seen you behaving like this. what has happened to you my sister? is it that, that guy has dumped you again?

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  25. Are we psychologically being prepared for something? i won’t say what. But when “they” sense it is approaching them, “they” scrury off to the nearest morning side. Common sense would tell you to atleast buy ambulances. But then again common sense is not so common.

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  26. A rather unfortuntate unintelligent expression of ones ignorance. Mr Wesley Ngwenya, please avoid manifesting your ignorance publicly. The piece is written in an abyss of reason, thought and information.

    Statements like “I am not even sure we have one hundred government ambulances here in Zambia”, are simply evidence of an individual that single sources information. Ambulances were distributed last year. Ask the guys in Mporokoso!

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  27. This sounds like a really bad joke. Death must be a commercially viable business in Zambia, politicians seemed to have signed a pact with the grim reaper.

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  28. people supporting this ridiculous purchase, honestly if we do the cost-benefit analysis, compare the costs of more deaths (due to por health care) and the savings we’ll get if more lives are saved instead? yes ur fancy hearses will take the increaing number of dead people to the mortuary, but the more die, the more trips, more fuel, more maintenance costs and soon we’ll need another 100 hearses bcoz instead of dying at 80+ yrs old we’ll have the young dying, and devpt continues to be hampered by bad health. Why not spend to keep our largely young population healthy and able to work and contribute 2wards dvpt, increase their chance of livin till 80, by then their contributions to the economy would’ve been enuf to ensure whn they die, there’ll be a fancy hearse to take them to the…

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